Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Education




Dr. Goli Rezai-Rashti

2nd Supervisor

Dr. Wayne Martino

Joint Supervisor


This thesis investigates the academic achievement of Black high school students. It employs a theoretical framework of social constructivism grounded in anti-racism to conduct five case studies of achieving black Canadian high school students to examine how these students managed to achieve in the midst of a system that predicts their failure. I asked three questions: (1) What factors do achieving black Canadian high school students identify as being helpful to their academic achievement? (2) How do these students perceive their racial identities? (3) What is the significance of these students’ racial identity at school? I found that these students identified their own hard work and their parents’ support as the main contributors to their academic achievement. Each student conceptualized his or her racial or cultural identity differently, but none identified with an Afrocentric identity. Most students expressed a desire to see more visible minority representation in the curriculum and to receive more support for black students in the school community. The results of this study offer educators insight into the areas where they can partner with black students, their families, and their communities to inspire academic success for all.